A Brief History of the Irish Republican Army.

Essay by ganjakidCollege, UndergraduateA-, April 2002

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In 1916, an unofficial military force was established, aimed at gaining independence, and unity, among all thirty-two counties on the island of Ireland. This organization was called the Irish Republican Army. Their belief was that Britain had stolen both their land and their rights. The IRA took it upon themselves as both their right, and their duty to fight for their independence. The IRA has used violence, political reform, and treaties to obtain some of their goals. But their was still a lot to be accomplished. The IRA believed unity and independence was within their grasp, but they had to remain patient. Through violence, political reform, and treaties, the Irish Republican Army must continue to fight for what is rightfully theirs.

The Irish Republican Army began to revolt against Britain in 1916. The "Easter Rising" was the defining moment in Irish republicanism. The IRA leaders created the "Proclamation of the Republic".

It declared an independent republic, and pledged republicans to "Equal rights and equal opportunities" (1). This document sparked small demonstrations of violence. The "Easter Rising" was crushed after a week. Sixteen of its leaders were executed by the British Government (2).

In 1922, the IRA split into two different parties. The IRA continued to fight for complete independence, and a united Ireland. Their former comrades, who formed the Army for the New Free State, opposed the IRA, and a bloody civil war followed. In 1923 the war ended with the IRA ordering volunteers to drop arms (3).

During the 1950's the IRA conducted violent raids on British military bases to seize weapons. This was in preparation for a campaign conducted between 1956 and 1962. The campaign was confined to the border areas, and did little for the IRA's cause. The Civil Rights campaign in Northern Ireland began in 1968.